Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lessons Learned

Today is an historic day, a day that those who are living will remember years from now.

It inspires many thoughts, many resolutions for the future. On few occasions in my life has this country truly seemed to live up to its lofty promise.

The gift I want to give to my readers is one that a friend passed along to me years ago by e-mail. Which friend it was has been lost over the years. I guess that doesn't matter. It contains lessons for all of us. And, while I am sorry to say that I have not always followed those lessons, I'm trying.

And I suppose that's part of the point.

It is titled simply "I Have Learned."

I've learned — that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I've learned — that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back.

I've learned — that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I've learned — that it's not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.

I've learned — that you can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. After that, you'd better know something.

I've learned — that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do but to the best you can do.

I've learned — that it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do about it.

I've learned — that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.

I've learned — that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned — that it's a lot easier to react than it is to think.

I've learned — that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I've learned — that you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I've learned — that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned — that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned — that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned — that learning to forgive takes practice.

I've learned — that there are people who love you dearly but just don't know how to show it.

I've learned — that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I've learned — that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I've learned — that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned — that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I've learned — that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned — that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I've learned — that you should never tell children their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it.

I've learned — that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned — that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned — that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned — that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned — that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned — that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I've learned — that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.

I've learned — that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned — that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned — that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.

I've learned — that no matter the consequences, those who are honest with themselves get farther in life.

I've learned — that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I've learned — that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I've learned — that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.

I've learned — that the paradigm we live in is not all that is offered to us.

I've learned — that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I've learned — that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.